By Katie Byrne
Kitchen cleaning hacks are a lifeline for busy women who don't have time to waste on endless scrubbing. Keeping our kitchen clean can feel like a full-time job—whether it’s dealing with appliances, trash, or dirty dishes, there’s a lot of work that goes into ensuring the space is spick and span each day.
But what if we told you that you can forget laborious deep cleaning routines, as there are some simple kitchen cleaning hacks out there that will have your space almost looking after itself. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Whether you use it for family dinners, social gatherings, or as a place to work, it's one of the busiest rooms in the house and it's important to make sure it's kept fresh and hygienic.
We’ve rounded up some of the most ingenious and unusual kitchen hacks, tips, and tricks to make kitchen cleaning so much easier, leaving you more time for the important things in life, like enjoying a quiet moment with a cup of coffee or catching up over a relaxed family meal.
What you should have to hand before you start
Many of these below items will be things you already have to hand in your kitchen—but if you don't, make sure you’re stocked up on them. These everyday, household items can be used to tackle a wide range of kitchen cleaning scenarios, and many of them are needed for our cleaning hacks below.
The basic ingredients for our kitchen cleaning hacks are:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Empty spray bottles
- Lemon juice (from fresh lemons, if possible)
28 ingenious kitchen cleaning hacks
1. Steam clean your microwave
Tackling the microwave may not be the most pleasant of tasks, but you can save time—and elbow grease—by loosening any microwave mess first. Pop a solution of one part vinegar, one part water, and a few slices of lemon into a microwave-friendly bowl and put the power on for a few minutes. Then, let the steam sit in the microwave for a few minutes to loosen any stubborn marks or stuck-on food.
Tackle your microwave walls as usual with a clean sponge and you should find scrubbing time is significantly reduced.
And if you're keen to steam clean any other areas of your home such as your floors or cars, see our guide to the best steam cleaners to buy here.
2. Use cola to descale a kettle
Looking for a quick-fix way to descale a long-serving kettle? Cola can help. As well as being great for a host of other cleaning tasks, the fizzy drink is also perfect for shifting limescale due to its acidic pH.
Fill your kettle with around 500ml of cola, switch it on to boil and then leave it to sit for 30 minutes. Pour the cola away, give your kettle a quick scrub if you feel it warrants it, and enjoy a limescale-free kettle.
3. Try vinegar in your dishwasher
Want to give your dishwasher a once-over but have minimal time to do so? Thankfully there's an easy way to get the job done. “Simply add a small dish of white vinegar to the top shelf of your dishwasher to give it a good clean,” recommends Lynsey. Keep the machine empty bar the vinegar and run a complete cycle to remove residue.
To tackle smells, turn to the bicarb. First, clean your dishwasher by hand as much as you can to remove any obvious food debris; then, sprinkle a cup of baking soda across the bottom of the appliance. Run a short, hot cycle and any odors should melt away. For an extra touch, let a wedge of lemon (or even just some lemon peel) sit in the cutlery compartment. And for a thorough, deep clean, see our guide to how to clean a dishwasher, step-by-step.
4. Line cupboard tops with newspaper
'Out of sight, out of mind' will be your usual mantra when it comes to kitchen cupboards—but if you're keen to keep them clean, it's easier than you might think.
Simply line them with a layer of greaseproof paper or old newspaper (one or two sheets should work perfectly), which will soak up all the grease and capture any debris such as dust. Remove and place them once a month to keep those hard-to-reach areas free and clear. It's much easier than climbing on top of your countertops with a feather duster.
5. Use Baby Oil to polish your sink
Use a tiny amount of baby oil when cleaning your sink to keep the area looking super shiny. After washing with soap and water, buff a few drops of oil into the surface of the sink with a clean cloth for a mirror-like finish.
This isn't a tip that just works for sinks, baby oil can act as a polish for other surfaces in the kitchen, like countertops and the fridge door—just make sure you use it sparingly.
6. Mask bin smells with cotton balls
Fed up with the *ahem* unique scent that your kitchen dustbin seems to generate so often? To keep it smelling clean, immerse a cotton wool ball or pad in your favorite essential oil and pop it into the base of your trash can for a fuss-free way to lose the stench.
7. Use tea to clean windows
The power of tea isn’t to be underestimated—did you know that its acidic properties can help with shifting smudges from your kitchen windows?
For a quick-fix window cleaning solution, stew black tea in boiling water and allow it to cool before transferring to a spray bottle. Spritz on to windows and wipe off as you would normally; newspaper is fantastic for a streak-free finish. And for more options, see our guide to how to clean windows here.
8. Banish bad fridge smells with orange and cloves
If your fridge has an unfortunate odour from food that's past its best, wiping it down might not be enough to restore a fresh scent. Instead, after cleaning out the offending contents, pop in half a lemon or orange with cloves pushed into the skin to soak up unpleasant smells. Leave it there for a good hour, or longer if you can, while you carry out any other kitchen tasks.
If you are a fan of sweet scents, like vanilla, soak a cotton call in vanilla extract and place it in the fridge in a small bowl.
9. Use bread for glass spillages
If you've smashed or dropped something made of glass, there's usually a panic to stay out of the kitchen until every last inch of shattered shards have been picked up—normally requiring both a sweep and an eye cast over the floor to spot any smaller pieces. But there's actually an easy way to clear your floor of glass after an accident.
Simply grab a slice of bread (any kind will do!), and place it gently over each section of your floor. The soft, moist nature of the bread attracts and will hold the broken glass, allowing you to pick up even the tiniest shards. Double-check the floor yourself after cleaning—but it's certainly a quick way of tackling the issue.
10. Run your blender to clean it
Do you love making smoothies but hate trying to clean your blender afterward? After all, even the best blenders can be tricky to wash up, with so many fiddly nooks and crannies. But never fear, as there is an easy hack for cleaning yours. Mix hot water with washing-up liquid and pour three cups of the bubbly solution into your blender. Run the blender for one minute and then rinse it out with water. It should be sparkling—and even those hard-to-clean blades should be in glistening condition.
11. Restore your chopping board with lemon
If your faithful wooden kitchen chopping board (a kitchen essential) is in need of some serious revitalization, reach for the lemon and salt. No, we’re not suggesting you offer it a Tequila shot—rather, rubbing lemon juice into its surface and sprinkling it with salt can help bring even the most tired-looking boards back to life.
Leave the lemon-and-salt combo to sit for around 15 minutes and then rinse clean. You should find yourself with a soft, clean chopping board that looks new.
12. Use banana peel to remove water marks
Keen to remove pesky water marks from cutlery? Try gently rubbing the offending items with discarded potato peel or the inside of banana skins to bring back the shine. Similarly, marks left by hard water on your sink, draining board, or taps can be minimized by rubbing them with a chunk of lemon.
13. Swipe a microfiber cloth over bulbs
We bet you've never thought about cleaning your lightbulbs before? This isn't simply to add another cleaning task to your schedule, but more to ensure you love spending time in the kitchen.
Microfiber cloths are great for giving the light fittings in your kitchen a gentle clean—they are soft and non-abrasive and so are ideal for removing dust from bulbs and shades. Just remember to turn your lights off before you start cleaning! A clean paintbrush can also produce similarly illuminating results. Cleaning your bulbs will create the best light possible and make your kitchen a nicer place to be.
14. Use oven liners to avoid burnt-on food
Similarly, oven liners can work wonders if you’re fed up with trying to remove burnt-on food from your oven. Simply place one at the bottom of the oven to catch all the food that drops, and just clean when necessary.
“They’re an absolute game-changer,” says Gemma Bray, founder of The Organised Mum. “You can buy them fairly cheaply and they’re made from a flexible material that lines the bottom of your oven. They’re reusable and very easy to rinse under the tap. Adding one to the bottom of your oven is much easier than scrubbing; the burnt-on food slips off the liner in seconds! There are different liners for different types of ovens so make sure you check which one you need.”
15. Tackle fridge spills with cling film
Lining the shelves and compartments of your fridge can make tackling unwanted mess and spills a piece of cake. Simply cover the interior surfaces of your refrigerator with either cling film or tin foil, and then remove and replace as and when required. This means you'll catch any milk spills or food scraps on the tin foil or cling film, and can easily clear it up without having to scrub at the shelves.
You can try a similar approach in your food cupboards and on your pantry shelves, too—so simple yet so effective. But, for those times when your fridge really does need a deep clean, see our in-depth guide to how to clean a fridge.
16. Use baking soda for an easy oven clean
On the subject of ovens—is yours in dire need of a deep clean? Try this trick before you go to bed for an overnight miracle. Fill a spray bottle with ½ a cup of baking soda and mix with ⅓ of a cup of water and ⅓ white vinegar. Spritz the solution on your oven’s interior and leave for up to 12 hours. Rinse away with a damp sponge the next day and prepare to marvel at precisely how much gunk you’ve managed to remove. For other failsafe and easy cleaning methods for your oven our guide to how to clean an oven—for when yours has become a bit too mucky.
If your oven racks are super dirty, you might want to try leaving them to soak in the bathtub. Fill the tub with water and a few cups of baking soda. Pop the racks in and leave them to soak for a minimum of four hours, then rinse with clean water for gleaming results. It couldn't be simpler.
17. Degrease walls with lemon juice
Working out how to clean walls is no easy business, but there are a few hacks to keep yours in the best condition possible. If you're keen to remove grime and grease from your kitchen walls, try spritzing marks with pure lemon juice; leave it to soak in for a few minutes before gently wiping away.
For a hardier DIY approach, use a mixture of baking soda and warm water to create a paste that can be applied directly to marks. Let it work its magic for a minute or two before wiping away with a wet sponge. Be sure to test this method on a smaller patch of your wall first, to ensure it doesn't damage it.
18. Use grease on your hob hood
Struggling with food splatters on your cooker hood? The secret to dealing with unwanted greasy marks is… More grease. No, really. If you've been desperately trying to clean dirty residue from spitting pans from the hood with soap and water, trying vegetable oil instead. Just massage in a few glugs of it into the offending areas with a cloth, and watch it disappear.
19. Line kitchen cupboard tops
‘Out of sight, out of mind’ might well be your usual mantra when it comes to the tops of your kitchen cupboards—but if you’re keen to keep them clean, it’s easier than you might think.
Simply line them with a layer of greaseproof paper or old newspaper (one or two sheets should work perfectly), which will soak up grease and capture any debris such as dust. Remove and replace them once a month to keep those hard-to-reach areas clean and clear. It's much easier than climbing on top of your countertops with a feather-duster...
20. Descale faucets with a plastic bag
If your kitchen faucet is covered in limescale or other tough-to-budge marks, there's an easy solution. Fill a small plastic bag with vinegar, wrap it around the tap and secure it in place with an elastic band—and leave it to work its descaling magic.
And that’s not the only way to tackle it: Lynsey Crombie, cleaning influencer and author of The 15-Minute Clean: The Quickest Way To A Sparkling Home has a couple of other tricks up her sleeve for you to try. “You can remove limescale from the tip of your kitchen tap by wedging half a lemon onto the tap head and leaving it for 30 minutes,” she recommends. “Alternatively, drench a paper towel in white vinegar and wrap it around the end—again, leave it for 30 minutes to see results.”
When it comes to boosting shine on your taps, try a little toothpaste on a brush and give the brass a quick scrub for a sparkling finish.
21. Use a sock to clean kitchen blinds
If you’ve chosen blinds for your kitchen windows, don’t forget to include them in your cleaning routine, as they can gather as much dust and debris as other surfaces. To clean them, there's an easy hack. Dip an old odd sock in water (with optional vinegar for extra sparkle), pop it on your hand, and use it as a fuss-free way to sweep over them.
22. Tackle a sink blockage with dish soap
If your kitchen sink is slow to drain, there's no need for commercial cleaners or bleach. Instead, reach for the dish soap. Due to its degreasing nature, it can be ideal for helping to unclog blockages—simply pour down the plug hole and run some hot water. Be aware this might not work for tougher blockages, but it's certainly a great starting point.
And if you're faced with an unpleasant smell? There's a solution for that too. If your sink is producing unwanted odors, don’t panic, as there's an easy hack to get rid of them. Run some hot water down the plughole and then pour in baking soda; follow this with a cup full of lemon juice for an instant refresh. No lemon juice to hand? “You can also pour cola down your plughole to give it a clean and break down any odors,” suggests Lynsey.
23. Revive porcelain with this mixture
If you have a white porcelain kitchen sink that’s seen better days, it’s time to give it a refresh. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over any offending scuffs and marks before carefully applying a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with a sponge. Scrub the mix away for a dazzling finish.
And if you want to know how to clean a stainless steel sink, see our guide here.
24. Bicarbonate of soda to lift cup stains
Plagued by tannin-marked tea or coffee cups? Don’t panic—removing those tough-to-shift stains is easier than you might think. Simply dribble a small amount of dish soap into each offending mug, add a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda and give the cup a good hard scrub with a sponge. Yours should be like new.
25. Use a potato to clean marked pans
Potatoes might not be your first consideration when it comes to cleaning, but they can be used to shift stubborn marks from cast iron pans. Cut a potato in half, dip it in your choice of baking soda or dish detergent and rub it over the affected area of the pan. Keep trimming off the end of the potato and redipping as required, until your pan is back in tip-top condition.
To tackle extra tough marks, add sea salt into the pan for an exfoliation effect. Once finished with the potato, pour a little oil into the pan and place it in the oven for an hour for a grime-free finish. This trick can also work for grill racks, too.
26. Dampen your dustpan
If you rely on a dustpan-and-brush to help you tackle crumbs on worktops or floors, you might be frustrated by their tendency to scatter as much as they collect. But there's a simple trick to avoiding this—dampen the dustpan before use. This will ensure crumbs, food debris and everything else will stick to the ‘pan with minimal fuss. Simply wipe it clean over the bin after use for easy disposal.
27. Upcycle tired sponges
If your kitchen sponge is reaching the end of its life, pop it inside a mesh bag (the sort you buy fruit in) for an instant fuss-free scourer. Simply place the sponge inside the bag, tie a knot to keep it in place and you've got a sponge with a bit of resistance that will clean even the dirtiest cookware (but if you're in need of an upgrade, check out our guide to the best cookware).
28. Try aluminium to clean silver
Proud owner of beautiful silverware? Ensure it stays in gleaming condition with this simple trick. Either line a glass dish with tin foil or use a (clean!) aluminium tray, and fill with a mixture of boiling water, salt and baking soda.
Carefully add your precious silver and let it soak for anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes, depending on how heavy-duty the marks are. Dry the pieces thoroughly and give them a good buff with a soft cloth to finish off.
Katie Byrne is a contributor to woman&home and a writer whose interests span everything from homes and interiors, to pop-culture, travel, business and self-development. A former digital editor, her freelance journalism has featured across a wide range of print and online titles, including Digital Spy, Grazia, Family Tree and more. She also previously edited the website KBB Ark, which focused on high-end interiors, decor and home improvements. When she's not writing, she loves reading (and has the groaning bookshelves to prove it...), dreaming up new décor ideas for her flat and devouring Netflix's latest true-crime series with her husband. You can find her on Twitter: @katie_b123.
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